Read through the Bible in 2014!

Wordle Books & Months

Have you ever purposed to read through the Bible in a year and somewhere around the month of February or the book of Leviticus you just…well…stopped? I have. MANY times. I don’t want to discourage you from reading through the Bible in 2014; I want to encourage you! You can do it. You really can. And if you miss a few days (or even months), don’t stop! Keep going!

I actually beganĀ my Bible-reading plan for 2013 somewhere around mid-February. Even though I got behind at times, I kept going. Here it is December 31 and, yes, I have 7 selections to read today in order to finish for the year, but I’ve already read 4 this morning and there’s plenty of time left til midnight. šŸ™‚

Here are some ways you can read through the Bible in 2014:

The Daily Bible – I have used this one before. The readings are arranged chronologically and it’s a great way to get a sense of the timeline of Scripture.

The One Year Bible – I have used this one off and on for several years, and I think it’s my favorite. It has 3 categories of daily readings: one from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one from one of the books of wisdom such as Psalms, Proverbs, or Job.

Read the Bible in a Year – The website ewordtoday.com helps you create your own reading plan with options including which Bible translation to use and what order to read the books.

Bible App – Of course, don’t forget about the option of taking your reading plan with you everywhere you and your digital devices go! The Bible App has probably the most options available with start/end dates, translations, methods, etc., and is compatible with practically every operating system out there.

Whatever method you choose to read through the Bible in 2014, my best advice is JUST DO IT! And keep doing it! When you falter or fail, just get back to it. December 31, 2014, will be here before you know it and you will be able to look back at everything that you DID read instead of what you didn’t!

 

Kokeshi Nativity

Kokeshi Nativity

One of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating my house with the many nativities that I have collected for the past several years. At last count, I have about 30. On a recent trip to Japan I searched for a nativity to bring home as a souvenir. Ā I saw only one – a handmade Kokeshi-style set for sale at a USO sale on the US Navy base in Yokosuka. As much as I loved it, I couldn’t bring myself to pay 300 yen (about $300) for it. It was beautiful, hand-carved and lovely, but I just couldn’t do it.

When I came home from my trip, I searched the internet for something similar. I found the wonderful website kokeshidesigns.com. I am almost positive that the nativity pictured above from Kokeshi Designs is the same one that I saw at the USO sale on the Navy base in Japan. I opted to buy just the Holy Family set, and I absolutely love it. This nativity will not get packed away with the other Christmas decorations. I want to enjoy it every single day.

Whether you collect nativities or not, I hope that you remember the Christ child that was born 2,000 years ago and placed in that manger was God Himself. And He came for YOU. Blessings to you this Christmas season!

Meaningful not material gifts

Gifts of Hope 2013

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Or have you barely begun? Most people on your list are probably just like the people on my list: they really don’t need anything. We give them gifts because we love them and it’s just what we do during this time of year. So we end up buying things like sweaters to put in already-full closets, video games for kids who should be playing outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and boxes of Christmas cookies and candies for people who already have too much to eat. We rarely give gifts that will endure until next Christmas much less gifts with eternal value.

But what if we decided to do it differently this year? What if we decided to truly honor the season of the Savior with a gift of hope to a persecuted believer? Open Doors has compiled a Gifts of Hope Catalog to help you choose gifts that not only encourage Christians suffering for their faith but also give real help and hope to those who share our faith but not our freedom.

For $58 you can provide job training for women to help them support their families. For only $5 you can provide biblical resources in digital media format to help train and disciple a believer. $1565 will sustain a whole family for a year. These are just a few of the gifts available in the Gifts of Hope Catalog. Click here to view the entire catalog.

Don’t let this Christmas be another year of giving meaningless gifts that do little to honor the greatest gift of all – Jesus the Messiah! Purchase with purpose this Christmas and give the gift of hope to persecuted Christians around the world.

Evil did not win.

Evil did not win

Emilie Parker, 6 year old victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

 

One year ago today an unspeakable tragedy occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Twenty children and six adults were killed in what is known as the second deadliest mass shooting in the history of our country. One of those victims was Emilie Parker (pictured above). On December 14, 2012, it seemed that evil triumphed with each blast of the shooter’s gun. However, Emilie’s mother declares that evil did NOT win that day. Click here to watch a short video chronicling her story of grief and hope. I know that it will give you hope as well.

Take time today to pray for all of the people whose lives are forever changed because of that day.